Arnold released the wonderful Henschel-Wegmann train recently. I had fun with the DIYing…
The locomotive is equipped with a standard NEM651 DCC plug. The motor is actually quite noisy, but behaves well at low speeds. The small wheels at the front and back of the engine are also all equipped with contact feeders. The locomotive has no problem in switch areas at all.
Although the model looks good, I was kind of disappointed by some technical specs. The cars have no “short coupling” mechanism. In fact, the coupling isn’t even standard. It is rather hard to attach and detach without damaging anything. Arnold compensated with an interesting tweak: the “accordions” between the cars are pushed together by springs. The visual result, in the end, is probably actually better than with short couplings (cars nearly touching at all times). The cars also don’t have any interior lighting (nor seem to have provision for an Arnold add-on).
Finally, a good and a bad news: Arnold thought about people without small radiuses (R1 192mm or R2 220mm). Both the end cars and the locomotive come with extra accessories. Those have to be attached at the bottom extremities of the vehicles, to provide with a fully realistic streamlined livery. Unfortunately those can only be attached on layouts without small radiuses. They would prevent the wheel carriages and the couplings between the cars from tilting enough. It’s good to know Arnold thought about everyone, sadly I won’t be able to install those accessories for my layout.
Overall, the train looks very good and it works well.
I didn’t want to just plug a NEM651 decoder in the locomotive. The Henschel-Wegmann is a legendary train!
So I went overboard with the DIY, and added all this:
I also made sure the train would be 100% flicker free. Each car has extra capacitors. I installed as many as I could fit in each car without blocking the internal view of more than one window.
The only exception is the sound car, but the Deutsche Reichsbahn somehow helped. Interestingly enough, the car was divided in 2. The 1st half of the car was a travelling post office. The mail was sorted on board so it could be delivered faster when arriving in Berlin or Hamburg. I took advantage of this (assuming the postmen didn’t work 100% of the time), and I blocked a few extra window of the 1st car to fit the decoder, the sound module and the capacitor.
In the end, I installed no less than 5 decoders and 1 sound module), supported by capacitors (total train capacity of 1540uF).
And here are the tech specs per element:
I won’t be detailing the work involved (suffice to say, it took a lot of free time). Here are a few pictures of the installation of the sound and lighting in the coaches, and of course, check out the video above!
Car 1 (sound car):
Cars 2 & 3 (just interior lighting):
Car 4 (interior lighting and end of convoy red lights):
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